“A webinar? You want to offer a webinar to prospective clients?” Linda Lawyer said to her brother and partner, Lance. “What is a webinar and why should we do one?”
A webinar is like a seminar except the host and participants connect via their computers. Webinars are facilitated through third-party services such as GoToWebinar, Zoom, Webinar Jam, or Live Storm. Participants view a PowerPoint-like slideshow while listening to the presentation, and can ask questions via a question-and-answer window. Webinars can be recorded for playback at a later time.
Webinars help establish lawyers as authorities in their areas of expertise. Lawyers answer innumerable questions—pointing the questioner to a webinar providing the information the clients seek helps them and saves them valuable time.
How to host a webinar:
First, select a topic. Think about your typical client and pick a topic of concern to many in that group. L&L Law is an elder law firm; they could give a webinar on legal documents they use or discuss the human problems their clients face, such as how to tell a parent he or she can’t drive anymore. A business client could be concerned about security in the workplace. A personal injury lawyer could present a webinar on driverless cars. The topics are as varied as the prospective audience.
Second, line up the speakers? Experts say the most effective webinars have a team of three to five presenters–a host, a co-host, and a guest speaker or speakers. The host keeps the webinar moving forward, much like a talk show, while the guests provide the bulk of the content. The co-host can monitor and respond to questions.
Next, set up the registration. Participants register online, so set up a landing page that explains the webinar and how to register. Most webinar hosting services provide a registration template.
Fourth, promote your webinar. Send an e-mail invitation to your mailing list and post the event on social media and on the events section of your SBM Member Directory enhanced profile. You could also send postcards or letters to targeted agencies to expand your reach. If you’re new to the practice and don’t have an extensive contact list, offer to speak at another lawyer’s webinar or other events. Get a list of attendees–you now have the beginning of a list of people interested in your information.
Now, the day for your webinar has come. Make sure the audio is good—use a professional microphone—and be sure the PowerPoint is professionally designed. When it’s over, send attendees a follow-up e-mail with a recap of the program and a link to watch it again.
Webinars are effective marketing tools. Once you get one under your belt, each successive webinar will be easier to produce and you will be in clients’ minds more frequently so when they need your services, they will contact you.
After years practicing law, Roberta Gubbins served as editor of the Ingham County Legal News. Since leaving the paper, she provides writing services to lawyers ghostwriting content for websites, blogs, and articles. She is editor of The Mentor, the SBM Master Lawyers Section newsletter.
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